Refuge (Men & Women)

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Initiative Title: Refuge (Men & Women)
Category: Residential Services Initiatives

Future of Manly Hospital Site – Crisis Housing (for Men & Women)

Across Northern Beaches there are only 2 Refuges currently available (both for women), since the closure in Dec’17 of the Fairlight Mission for men.  Hopefully another refuge (Ebbs House),  due to open near the Warringah Mall in Brookvale with 33 beds, will also be able to accommodate homeless men and women with children. One refuge for women seeking refuge from domestic violence is located in the Manly Community Centre Refuge for Women operated by the Manly Community Centre out of 3 small homes on North Head and the other for women in Queenscliff.    

The new ABS Census Homeless data shows there are 605 homeless across Northern Beaches, up from 370 in 2011.  This is an increase of 63%, which has undoubted increased further by now. There remains a dire shortage of refuge accommodation, especially for men (most are homeless).  When we speak of homeless this includes those sleeping out in the open (in areas like Manly Oval, on our beach front, in parks and under rocks on North Head), in there cars and many couch surfing.  Most have mental disorders, physical health issues and/or relationship breakdowns.   Both Refuges (Men & Women) are always full, so there is never any accommodation available locally for our homeless and women men in urgent need of respite and women in distress (often escaping domestic violence).   For women with children in distress there are no refuges at all available, as the current women’s refuge is only for women without children.  

To say the least, there is an acute shortage of Refuge accommodation right across the broader Manly Community.   Hence the reason why our Manly Community have identified an urgent need for a Refuge accommodate for both men and women at the future Manly Hospital site.   A lot of our homeless have grown up on the beaches, have their lives here and no nothing else but the beaches.  What they all seek is some basic form of accommodation primarily as that first essential stepping stone to some form of employment.  Some homeless people, despite their situation, continue to hold down jobs.  Moving our homeless people off the beaches, away from their support network is not the solution. 

What is Crisis Housing?  Crisis Housing provides accommodation and specialised support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness or homelessness brought about by family violence situations. The service aims to provide immediate support and accommodation for people at the time of crisis as well as facilitate access to other essential services and more permanent housing. These services range from provision of nutritional meals, clothing, showers and basic medical to intensive case management, legal and housing support, specialised health care, advocacy and providing a safe, welcoming environment for people who are sleeping rough and have experienced trauma. Within the refuge are a multi-disciplinary team, allowing for a coordinated and client centred approach to care and support.

Who can access a Refuge?   A Refuge would usually cater for men over the age of 21, who are in need of temporary accommodation and/or other support.  For women the age can be as low as 18 especially if they are homeless or have a child to look after.    Primary health care medical clinic, pastoral care, counselling and basic facilities living facilities are required nearby.   A range of programs and resources would need to be accessible for men and women aged over 18 during the day to assist them with preventative self-help and their well-being.   A refuge usually partners with many service providers and other agencies to help ensure that people can be linked into the right service, at the right time. People may decide to access the support of the refuge after leaving an institution, such as a correctional facility or a hospital or at the time of crisis, such as after family breakdown, or after living on the street for many years. A team needs to be on standby to work with men and women to explore options and help find sustainable outcomes. These strategies include tackling daily living matters, building resilience, developing home-based programs and engaging counselling plus other support services as needed.  The most effective strategy for exiting a refuge is any form of employment (full or part-time) that delivers sufficient income to support any form of rental accommodation (be in government subsidised or affordable rental).

Contact Name: Darryl Dobe
Contact Email Address:
Start Date: 20-Jun-2017
End Date: 21-Dec-2018
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Volunteers already signed up for this Special Project Initiative (if any)

  1. Darryl Dobe   

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